Deprecation warning: The Packer, Artifact Registry and Terraform Enterprise (Legacy) features of Atlas will no longer be actively developed or maintained and will be fully decommissioned on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Please see our Upgrading From Terraform Enterprise (Legacy) guide to migrate to the new Terraform Enterprise and our guide on building immutable infrastructure with Packer on CI/CD for ideas on implementing these features yourself.
Terraform Enterprise, and this documentation, covers a large set of terminology adopted from tools, industry standards and the community. This glossary seeks to define as many of those terms as possible to help increase understanding in interfacing with the platform and reading documentation.
» Authentication Tokens
Authentication tokens are tokens used to authenticate with Terraform Enterprise via APIs or through tools. Authentication tokens can be revoked, expired or created under any user.
ACL is an acronym for access control list. This defines access to a set of resources. Access to an object in Terraform Enterprise limited to "read" for certain users is an example of an ACL.
An alert represents a health check status change on a Consul node that is sent to Terraform Enterprise, and then recorded and distributed to various notification methods.
An application is a set of code that represents an application that should be deployed. Applications can be linked to builds to be made available in the Packer environment.
An apply is the second step of the two steps required for Terraform to make changes to infrastructure. The apply is the process of communicating with external APIs to make the changes.
An artifact is an abstract representation of something you wish to store and use again that has undergone configuration, compilation or some other build process. An artifact is typically an image created by Packer that is then deployed by Terraform, or used locally with Vagrant.
Boxes are a Vagrant specific package format. Vagrant can install and uses images in box format.
Builds are resources that represent Packer configurations. A build is a generic name, sometimes called a "Build Configuration" when defined in the Terraform Enterprise UI.
» Build Configuration
A build configuration are settings associated with a resource that creates
artifacts via builds. A build configuration is the name in
packer push -name
The box catalog is a publicly available index of Vagrant Boxes that can be downloaded from Terraform Enterprise and used for development.
Consul is a HashiCorp tool for service discovery, configuration, and orchestration. Consul enables rapid deployment, configuration, monitoring and maintenance of service-oriented architectures.
A datacenter represents a group of nodes in the same network or datacenter within Consul.
Environments show the real-time status of your infrastructure, any pending changes, and its change history. Environments can be configured to use any or all of these three components.
Environments are the namespace of your Terraform Enterprise managed
infrastructure. As an example, if you to have a production environment for a
company named Acme Inc., your environment may be named
To read more about features provided under environments, read the Terraform sections.
» Environment Variables
Environment variables injected into the environment of Packer builds or Terraform Runs (plans and applies).
Flapping is something entering and leaving a healthy state rapidly. It is typically associated with a health checks that briefly report unhealthy status before recovering.
» Health Check
Health checks trigger alerts by changing status on a Consul node. That status change is seen by Terraform Enterprise, when connected, and an associated alert is recorded and sent to any configured notification methods, like email.
An infrastructure is a stateful representation of a set of Consul datacenters.
An operator is a person who is making changes to infrastructure or settings.
Packer is a tool for creating images for platforms such as Amazon AWS, OpenStack, VMware, VirtualBox, Docker, and more — all from a single source configuration.
» Packer Template
A Packer template is a JSON file that configure the various components of Packer in order to create one or more machine images.
A plan is the second step of the two steps required for Terraform to make changes to infrastructure. The plan is the process of determining what changes will be made to.
Providers are often referenced when discussing Packer or Terraform. Terraform providers manage resources in Terraform. Read more.
The post-processor section within a Packer template configures any post-processing that will be done to images built by the builders. Examples of post-processing would be compressing files, uploading artifacts, etc..
Often referred to as the "Artifact Registry", the registry stores artifacts, be it images or IDs for cloud provider images.
A run represents a two step Terraform plan and a subsequent apply.
A service in Consul represents an application or service, which could be active on any number of nodes.
Shares are let you instantly share public access to your running Vagrant environment (virtual machine).
Terraform state is the state of your managed infrastructure from the last time
Terraform was run. By default this state is stored in a local file named
terraform.tfstate, but it can also be stored in Terraform Enterprise and is
then called "Remote state".
Terraform is a tool for safely and efficiently changing infrastructure across providers.
» Terraform Configuration
Terraform configuration is the configuration files and any files that may be
used in provisioners like
» Terraform Variables
Variables in Terraform, uploaded with
terraform push or set in the UI. These
differ from environment variables as they are a first class Terraform variable
used in interpolation.